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Thank you, Juvenile Court Judge Mary Carden, for bringing attention to the understaffing at the Hall County Department of Family and Children’s Services office.
How can David Noel or anyone else at the state level stand up and say with a straight face the Hall County office or any other DFCS office is not understaffed? Anyone who has any knowledge of Georgia DFCS knows almost every office is understaffed and there is and has been a freeze on hiring. Every office is operating with a skeleton crew and have been unable to hire now for several months or maybe a year.
I think it was a copout when Noel said "I don’t have the exact numbers." Of course he doesn’t have the "exact numbers" because if the state office would tell the truth more judges and concerned citizens would be asking more questions. I think someone should keep pressing the state to get the "exact numbers." Then something would be done.
So what if they hired 130 people; how many of those were placed downtown to staff the new director’s office? So out of the 130 people hired, did each county get one new investigator or case worker? I hardly think this is sufficient to run a DFCS office.
DFCS workers have been furloughed one day every month since last October and now all offices are shut down one day a month the last quarter of this year. The people cannot work more than 40 hours a week, and with the few people they have, I am surprised more children are not falling through the cracks. But Lord help the county that has a child death or bad injury because someone there will pay the price. The state will never admit there is not enough staff to properly investigate in the beginning.
Children are the future of this country and the children in DFCS custody or the ones in homes being investigated are just as important as all the other children in this state. When Gov. Sonny Perdue was doling out the money this year, I was very disappointed he would allot money to build boat ramps, for the few who have boats on Lanier (compared to the entire state) and new buildings on college campuses, which some of these children will never live to have an opportunity to attend. But he cut money from DFCS, which would help take care of these children who through no fault of their own are now part of the DFCS system.
Please, all judges or other citizens involved with these children or care about their welfare, stand up and let the state DFCS office know your concerns. This is the only way this problem will be corrected.
New nuclear plants would boost energy, job creation
The Congress, with the Democratic Party presiding, has chosen to spend hours, days and months trying to contrive a health care scheme that they can make the American people swallow.
In that same period of time, the nuclear situation with Iran and North Korea has worsened, the war in Afghanistan has escalated, the dollar has depreciated in value, the national debt has increased to a level almost uncountable and, worst of all, unemployment is just a few tenths of a percent away from 10 percent (our president told us several months ago that when unemployment reached 8 percent, that was as high as it would go).
Speaking of our president, who always seems to be speaking somewhere, he appears to be totally wrapped up in the health care "crisis" or some other "crisis" that demands massive government financing. In doing so, both he and Congress offer no direction on the most critical problem that the U.S. faces: a lack of manufacturing and the jobs that go with it.
Over the last 10 years, we have exported millions of manufacturing jobs without considering who would have the money to buy the items we import. One measure of U.S. growth is the sale of 15-16 million cars per year. This year we may buy 11 million.
We are constantly told that we must reduce our consumption of oil. Yet, we refuse to allow the construction of nuclear power plants. If we mention nuclear plants, the Three Mile Island disaster is thrown in our face, but that incident produced not one fatality or injury. France is 80 percent nuclear-powered, as is most of Europe.
Construction of new nuclear plants that would replace oil-fired plants would put thousands of Americans to work. Plant construction requires metalworking, woodworking, earth moving equipment, electric motors and fans and on and on.
The net result would be safe, cheap, clean power and perhaps the income to rekindle the love affair Americans have had with the automobile. Wages would be earned here and probably spent here.
But, most of all, with disposable income growth will come a return to some level of prosperity. This is the direction we need.
Bruce W. Hallowell